Sites From Today's Surfing! (weekly)

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Great Beginnings!

Today was the first day of the 2011-12 school year, and I was greeted with 28 anxious and intelligent 5th graders.

We started off the day by creating various items to place in our Time Capsule.  These items included a paragraph about their summer in their best handwriting (they're always amazed at how much their handwriting changes in a year), a tracing of their hand, a colored self portrait, and a questionnaire about their "favorites".  We sealed them up in plastic bags, packed them in a box, and I "buried" it in the back of a large cabinet in our room.

We then took a tour of our class website, which is the guiding hub of our classroom.  Linked on the site, I opened a Powerpoint which led us on a tour of the classroom and various procedures. Then it was on to the "Serious 17"!  Ron Clark would be proud.  After reading his new book this summer, The End of Molasses Classes, and re-reading, The Essential 55, I decided to choose 17 non-negotiable behaviors that would be required for success in our room.  After a lively class discussion about them (they are all posted above our front board), the kids finally got their laptops.  We are a 1:1 county, and this group of kids first got their individual netbooks in the spring of last year.  I was anxious to see how tech savvy they were.

To assimilate the rules into their thinking, they were asked to create a PowerPoint with 3 slides.  Each slide was to contain one of the 17 rules they thought was most important, a reason why it was most important, and a clip art picture that would demonstrate the rule.  I know creating a PowerPoint is not a great measure of "tech-savvy-ness", but these kids have not had much experience with the online tools my previous class used daily, so it was a good starting point.  They LOVED it, as supported by the comments on their first blog posts.

To end the day (which went extremely quickly) I introduced them to Kidblog which we will use often throughout our year together.  They were very excited to create their first blog post! We found out that evening however, that Internet Explorer (which had been this group's browser of choice) does NOT play nicely with the new Windows 7 that was included on the new image installed over the summer.  Oh well, they were great sports, and re-blogged the following day.  You can read their first posts HERE (they'd love comments if you have an extra minute!)

What a GREAT first day!


Sites From Today's Surfing! (weekly)

Posted from Diigo. The rest of my favorite links are here.

Baby QR Code Steps Toward Independence

I've decided one way I'd like to start integrating QR codes into my classroom is in my math class.  I have chosen to "flip" my classroom this year so my students will be watching the lesson at home each night.  When they return the next day, one of their math centers will be to practice using their new skills with problems in our math book.  In order to move toward giving them more independence over analyzing their work, I want them to self-correct their problems and comment/question any they miss.  Here's where the QR codes will come in. 

After completing their work they bring it to me to initial and I will give them a sheet with a big QR code.  When they return to their laptop, they will use the fantastic and easy to use online QR code reader at to read the QR code.  This will take them to a Google Doc that contains the PDFs of the answers keys (I've made the Doc private only to those who have the link so I am not breaking copyright concerning our math materials).

To get to this point took a few steps, but once I got going I was able to put together a binder of QR codes for my entire first unit in 20 minutes.  Here's what I did:

  1. Open the Teacher's Edition Math book on the disc that came with our Math series materials (the online version wouldn't allow the print command).

  2. Navigate to the pages the students will be doing, click the Print icon that is part of the disc formatted pages, and choose Adobe PDF instead of the printer.  This converts the pages you want to PDF's, which I saved in a file.

  3. Merge the two PDF documents so they are together (I use Gios PDF Splitter and Merger). Save to the file.

  4. Upload the new merged PDF to Google Docs.

  5. In the SHARE settings of Google Docs, click the Private only to those who have the link.

  6. Copy and Paste link of the new doc into which will create the QR code.

  7. Copy and Paste the QR code onto a Word Document with the heading of the Lesson, Print several copies, and put in my notebook, ready to give to the kids!

Went smoothly once I got it going!  Can't wait to see how it works with the kids soon!  I know there's probably an easier way, but this works for now!


Sites From Today's Surfing! (weekly)

Posted from Diigo. The rest of my favorite links are here.